Things We Think We Know With One Month To Go Until The Draft

We are now one month away from the 2014 NFL Draft and now is as good a time as any to go back over things that we think we know as it relates to the Pittsburgh Steelers needs and wants. Below are just a few of the things that are floating around in my head right now.

The “tall” buzz word needs to be changed to “red” – We have heard for several months now that the Steelers “intend” on drafting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a “tall” receiver. I don’t care how “tall” the receiver is, but what I do care about is whether or not that player can produce inside the red zone starting immediately. If this team can’t put up more points on the board than they did last season, they simply will not be able to compete for a championship. Think long and hard about what has been lost this offseason on offense and what has been brought in to replace those losses.

Give us cornerbacks – I doubt there are many of you that think the Steelers only need to draft one cornerback next month. As of right now, the future is Cortez Allen and that is it. This team needs to not only double-dip once again at the cornerback position, they need to hit future starters with both selections. That’s a lot to ask, but at least this is a deep cornerback class. Sure, these draft picks aren’t likely to play a lot in 2014, but they can be ready by 2015.

The outside linebacker pipeline really needs replenishing – Is Jason Worilds the future or is he a one-year stop-gap? Remember, this is the same player that lost his starting job to Jarvis Jones last year after the first week of the season. Sure, he played well when asked to take over for the injured LaMarr Woodley, but he still has a lot to prove. Behind Worilds and Jones are Chris Carter and Arthur Moats as of right now, and both are only under contract for the 2014 season. If Worilds is not extended prior to the start of the season, you have to wonder who will start opposite Jones in 2015. Is it time to double-dip this position once again?

Inside linebacker looks like a luxury – What’s your favorite inside flavor? Is it C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier or Christian Jones? All three would probably look real good in a Steelers uniform, but due to other needs that this team has right now, drafting any of the three really appears to be a luxury. Maybe Sean Spence can make it all the way back from his knee injury in 2014. Maybe Vince Williams can improve on third downs.

I’ve succumbed to tackle peer pressureMarcus Gilbert is in a contract year and Mike Adams has only showed us so far that he can effectively run block on the right side. Kelvin Beachum has overachieved and needs to keep doing so. The Steelers appear to be doing their due diligence when it comes to tackles, so I fully expect one that can move out in space will be drafted at some point. If they expect new offensive line coach Mike Munchak to cook dinner, I suppose they should at least let him buy some groceries needed to prepare it. Those groceries, however, will likely have to be bought after the third round.

Anything for the defensive line – Where does Cam Thomas best fit and can he fit there for two seasons? Is Brett Keisel coming back for one more season? Are Nick Williams and Brian Arnfelt future starters or three-year projects? Hebron Fangupo will be 29 in July. Can Cameron Heyward be cloned? Is that legal? You see where I am going here. We have more questions about the defensive line than we have answers right now.

Upgrade David Paulson – I firmly believe that Heath Miller still has another season or two left in him and if healthy, I believe that Matt Spaeth can provide the team what they need from a second tight end in 2014. Still, this team could use another tight end roll of the dice in order to find an upgrade over David Paulson. If that dice roll comes up snake-eyes, then they will just have to try again in 2015.

Change of pace needed – The Steelers are set with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount at running back for 2014, but the latter doesn’t offer much on third downs. A shifty back that has reliable hands wouldn’t hurt and one can be found this year after round four.

Ok, in the comments below, add the things that you think you know with one month to go until the draft or have fun with my offerings.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    I know that Cleveland will draft the wrong QB, That the Raiders will make some absurd pick that ESPN will be scrambling to find tape on. And I know the Steelers will take Kelvin Benjamin though I don’t like it and feel like he is Mike Williams pt II.

  • Caesar

    Excellently put about “tall” versus “red”. Agree completely. And I think firmly that the first two picks have to a red zone weapon and a CB. After that, in the third, with where they are, think best available. Maybe a Jack Mewhort is there to solidify tackle and end the Gilbert/Adams experiment. Maybe Fiedorowicz is still around. Maybe a good LB prospect like Carl Bradford or Attoachu. Maybe one of the CBs fall, but is looking more and more like Desir, Jean-Baptiste, McGill, etc. are gone by then. Maybe Dontae Johnson from NC State, but might be early there. Then I think rd. 4 is where DL happens. Josh Mauro seems too much to me like Aaron Smith to not want him. Or Stinson from ‘Bama. Or Urban from UVA. After that, I think RB, LB, CB, DL prospects should be available, like Walt Aikens from Liberty, Nevin Lawson from Utah St. at CB, Barrett at LB, several RBs who should still be around, a late NT or another end prospect

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I can’t say I disagree with anything you mentioned above Dave. They have a lot of holes, and their depth is precarious when you consider their history of injury. They were devastated when they lost Foote, Pouncey, and Stevens-Howling in the first game, although they did manage to recover in the second half of the season. I think it goes without saying that they will try to address as many needs as possible in the draft, but we know that rookies do not normally contribute much in their first year. They cannot fill all of their holes in one draft. They filled some last year, they will fill some this year, and they will fill more next year. I think there will be no dominant team in their division in 2014, so I believe they do have a chance to win their division. They definitely need to fill holes this year for LB, DL, and CB. To me, those are must-draft positions this year. We can only hope that Tomlin and Colbert make the right choices in the draft. Their future depends on it.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I love some of those names you mention, especially the DL. I like Taylor Hart from Oregon and Deandre Coleman from California, too. I wish Alex would do a few articles for those DL that aren’t in the top 2 or 3 rounds. I would think the Steelers would look at these guys in rounds 3 to 5.

  • Caesar

    Can’t decide how I feel about Hart. He is interesting, maybe not until a 6th or 7th round pick though.

  • Jason

    I think I know that regardless of who we choose at 15 there will be so many comments posted in the first half hour following that it might crash this site. Half will be positive half will likely want Colbert fired for it. What I know for certain is I will be a useless husband and father for those 3 days in May.

  • JAMESH

    Here’s three subjective criteria to evaluate your first round draft pick:

    1) Immediate impact player
    2) Best in the draft at his position
    3) Cornerstone around which you can build for a decade

    “With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steeler select Eric Ebron.” Anyone else fit those parameters?

  • Bill Sechrengost

    That would be great if they could pick him up in the lower rounds. I would think Mauro or Urban would have to be drafted higher, though, which would be okay with me if they got two of them.

  • PoKey21

    WR are just so hard to judge and taking one in the top half of the draft is even scarier. As much as it would be nice having a tall option for Ben I believe it would be even nicer to find a stalwart for the Dline or corner position.

  • Farnsworth

    Thank you! Makes sense. Heath isn’t getting any younger, and who better to learn from. Redzone threat and can make an impact as a rookie. Won’t have to sit as a 1st rounder at CB or WR. Gonna be best available with so many options, but I think that’ll be Ebron. We get WR and CB’s in middle rounds. D-line and LB are needs too, but best available won’t equal Ebron’s impact.

  • Jason

    James I complete agree. I don’t necessarily prefer Ebron over a top CB but if Watkins and Evans are gone which is likely you grab a guy who is a matchup nightmare for defenses. AB,Wheaton,Moore,Miller and Ebron with Bell in the backfield is a pretty formidable offense.

  • Farnsworth

    As a Michigander and Lions hater, I still rub in the Millen years to family and friends. Did get to watch Barry Sanders every week. A beer can from my older brother turned me into a Steelers fan. Thank God!

  • Jason

    Good point about WR’s. Many are saying we have to go WR because Wheaton is unproven. Wouldn’t anyone we draft at WR be unproven as well?

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    I think you pretty much covered it.

  • JAMESH

    For the Steelers, a WR in the first is a wasted pick because they will not pay what he will command on the open market for his second contract.

  • Callentown

    Wow, you pretty well nailed it all Dave. I guess the concept of McClendon moving out to DE may be something we the fans think is an issue. May not be inside the organization.

    Otherwise, while we do have bigger needs, I do think the ILB position is still on the table.

    In the first round, if the top two corners are taken, and the top three Olineman and the top two WR’s, it’s gotta be Dline or ILB simply because of the value proposition. OLB being picked in the first round would be telling IMO.

    If a Mosley is there, he may be higher value than the remaining DE’s. However, I think Pittsburgh already knows their aim. We’ll see how the pieces fall.

  • grw1960

    Can’t disagree with the post Dave. Red zone is #1 with me. But the Steelers need this to be a super draft if they want a solid foundation of starters for 2015.
    BPA projected starter at any of the positions you named and hope to pick up the rest from the waiver wire later

  • srdan

    lol, “can Cam Hayward be cloned?”

  • srdan

    This is one reason I really look forward to April 22nd. It’s the OTAs. It will be our first chance to really get any indication for Spence and what Jarvis did all offseason. Then I think we can better discuss Mosely.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Awesome recap!

    I didn’t expect it but I finished up the article deciding we need to go all defense and forgert WR.

    I do think that it is important to remember that we have spent several years in cap hell and this is the first year of a process that will see a rebuild and better cap room each year. It’s hard to decide which moves to make first when we have several years to make all of the moves and we just need to understand that everything doesn’t get fixed in one year.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Best in the draft at his position?

    Why does that matter?

    Isn’t that saying to pass on the BPA and instead sign the best player at your position of highest need?

    I think you simply need to get the best player available. I would rather wait a year for development than get a lower level player that is ready to start sooner.

    1 BPA
    2 must command double team
    3 little to no health concerns.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I feel cheated!

    I usually have a multi day draft/birthday party starting on the 22nd. My plans are ruined!

  • Nolrog

    Things we know one month before the draft. There is still one month to go before the draft!!! Ugh. This is like a dead zone. Why did they move it back (I know the “official reason” but this is torture.)

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I look at our roster, and what I thought I knew a month ago, is completely different today. Do we still have holes that need filled? Yes, but at the moment we have enough guys to put together a roster at every position right now without the draft. I am under the impression we could take almost any position other than maybe QB or RB in the first.

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    So they should have paid Mike W/Sanders who never met a crucial pass he couldn’t drop

  • SteelersDepot

    So you are worried about 5 years down the line and a second contract? If worthy, can be franchised in year 6 and 7.

  • Paddy

    Would love to know Munchak’s take on the line from watching film.

  • Justin Barlow

    Who has some sense of potential June 1st cuts on the DL that would be of interest to the Steelers?

    I think this draft is much simpler if we know there are some veterans who will be looking for work this summer that we can bring in to complement Keisel/Thomas as our RDE and push Fangupo for the NT job.

  • Chad H

    Not trying to be negative and I stated it before, “We will not be a great team this year. Good but not great. Too many holes to fill and we need to hit on 4 to 5 players in this draft. Add in some picks in 2015 and then in 2015 and 2016 I believe we will have a couple shots at a SB win before Ben retires.”

  • charles

    With all due respect, I just cannot disagree more with how you think. You lead off your thoughts by bashing Haley even though a coach’s first and top priority is to recognize talent. Haley has what his dad had (who just happened to have maybe the greatest draft class in the HISTORY of the NFL)
    After 4 out of 5 SB s have been won with 4-3s and one loss by 3-4 (us), it has not clicked in your mind that a dominant front four is beterr than all world Manning or Brady. Better than a Calvin Johnson. Now, you might have a point if you were to list Jim Brown or Marshawn Lynch. Although if Lynch’s eyes get any more crossed we will have to check his lymph to see just exactly how his body produces so much HGH. (The stat rats still don’t know how Pete Carroll used Lynch as a decoy the whole SB)
    Our already weak DL took a large hit with FA losses, but that might have been a blessing in disguise. Love The Beard but his best days are long gone. We will know by the first half of the first game if we are to better 8-8: if a Jake Locker has time to order a burger before he looks downfield, the Steelers are in for a long season. On the other hand, it might represent an opportunity to change the last two Cowher holdovers.

  • Ike Evans

    That’s definitely possible

  • Ike Evans

    Smh it sucks I’m so mad

  • Ike Evans

    Bro….Spence is fukin huge now….not like timmons huge but he’s waaaaaaaaaay bigger then he was….which is understandable….I follow Jarvis on instagram too and he seems like he’s at it everyday but he looks about the same size….

  • Farnsworth

    Isn’t Ebron a TE? “We get wr and cb’s in the middle rounds”. Did you even read it?

  • Callentown

    Oh good point! I didn’t know that was before the draft.

    That would really help a lot with assessment of Spence in particular. I feel like Shazier is a little like Spence in size and speed and a nose for the ball. Fingers crossed!

    Jarvis still has months to work on strength training and technique with Porter and hopefully Harrison soon.

  • srdan

    I’d love to see spence get 250 snaps this year. That woudl be a welcomed sight.

  • srdan

    I think we have a very solid foundation of starters on both sides of the ball.

  • Randy Neff

    Agree for the most part, would add an electric KR/PR to help Antonio Brown.

  • patrick Mayfield

    CJ Mosley

    You don’t build anything around a TE

  • John Hinton

    I’ll that E Double at 1.15 for the reasons you stated above.

  • Matt Manzo

    Where did u see the Haley bashing?

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Caesar,
    I like your thoughts, but the best one comes late – NT.
    If we don’t take a NT and move McClendon to DE, then we are stupid (yes, I know, we have done some dumb things). Solves 2 problems with 1 pick.
    Otherwise, I think you are right – I could live with Ebron/TE in rd1 only because he is talented and any CB we take in rd 1 wont see the field until 2015 anyway (why do we do that?)….
    No WR though, in your suggestions, huh? And yes, Mauro DOES kinda remind one of Aaron Smith, doesn’t he?
    Perhaps lightning can strike twice……

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Jason,
    You are right – this #15 pick is a bit polarizing for our usually united Nation!
    Half want CB, half want WR…….
    I have been firmly in the CB camp, but realizing that no D player taken will get significant playing time this year, I could be talked into a TE/WR in rd1.

  • HardPunkKore

    Are you saying that Jake Mathews isn’t a top 10 talent simply because Greg Robinson is a hair better? I like 1 and 3. 2 not so much…

  • Caesar

    Red zone weapon early to me would likely be a WR or a TE. If it were a TE, I would think a WR would need to be plucked later. Maybe Latimer from Indiana if it were to unfold that way.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Caesar,
    Further proof that great minds think alike!! :-)
    The more I read the more I think Ebron rd 1, CB (Roby? Fuller?) rd 2, then Latimer in rd3, NT in rd 4 (McCullers from TENN is a personal favorite), DE in rd 5, etc. etc.
    Latimer seems like a horse and one of those unpolished gems that the Stillers specialise in (or used to anyway!).

  • Ben Anderson

    Agree for the most part, except that I think we’re short at ILB too. Garvin is too light to play all 3 downs. Vince Williams has always been a 2 down player, even at Florida State and counting on Sean Spence to make it back to 100% is counting on a long, long shot, I’m rooting for him, but if Spence makes it back far enough to make the roster as a special teams player, he’ll have beaten the odds. And, having a less than dominant NT makes our ILB need even more glaring. A good NT makes even average ILBs look good in this scheme.
    That, and I don’t expect them to draft an OT. Too many other needs and they already have three.

  • Wing t

    Seattle won the Super Bowl with a great defense and golden Tate and Doug Baldwin as there main 2 wrs. Did cowher ever have this many holes when he coached?

  • charles

    ‘If this team cannot put up more points’ , ‘reciever who can impact immediately’. This is the first paragraph and one might assume then that the writer has given it top priority….Most in need of improvement.

  • JAMESH

    I did not say that.

  • JAMESH

    I’d be curious to know how many times that scenario has played out with a WR.

  • JAMESH

    I’ll give you that. Who do you think will be available when we pick, who would you like them to pick, and who do you think they will pick?

  • Matt Manzo

    We do need to put up more points, especially redzone.
    And if we take a WR high he needs to be able to play right now.
    I think that’s the argument for Benjamin. His RZ production is good, and because of his size he can fit right in, as long as his wunderlick scores are high!

  • charles

    Matt, we need to get to the qb and put him on his a–. Or you and Benjamin will just have to live with 8-8.

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree. I think we’ll see DE and LB in rounds 1-4. And I think solidifying the DBs will help the pass rush. But I think we’re one WR away from completing the offense.